While many freelancers and independent contractors have been working remotely well before 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic forced many employees into an emergency remote work setting for safety reasons. Workers who had traditionally worked in a physical setting were suddenly adapting to the work-at-home life.
Since that time, the number of companies moving their workforce to fully remote by choice or giving them the option to work in a remote work setting has continued to increase. And it’s not letting up. Research is showing that remote workers are more productive and happier. And as far as the bottom line goes, eliminating the large expense of office space can be a huge budget saver.
For employees who only ever worked in a physical office, transitioning to a remote work setting can be very difficult.
READ MORE: The 5 benefits of coworking spaces for remote work employees
5 helpful ways to make the remote work transition easier
- Establish a dedicated workspace: Just like you have a dedicated workspace at your physical office, you’re going to want to set up a workspace in your home where you can focus on work without distractions. It can be a separate room or a specific area in your house that is designated solely for work. You can also consider a coworking space to give you an office outside of your home. They’re now available on an on-demand basis, so you can book them weekly (or even more frequently) depending on how much you need them. Companies are increasingly adding coworking spaces as a benefit for their remote work employees, and working with companies like Flexspace to help manage the scheduling and booking.
- Create a schedule: Remote work is still work, so it’s important that you create a daily schedule that includes your work hours, as well as your breaks. And, be sure to consider time zones. Are you all in EST? Are you part of a global team? They’re important! With your office in your home, it can be easy to hop online earlier and stay online later, so be extremely mindful of your schedule and try to stick to it as best you can. Whatever your schedule is, be sure it’s clearly communicated with your team.
- Stay connected with colleagues: Your work should have communication tools set up for you, but in the initial stages of transition, you can’t overcommunicate. Instant messaging, email, and of course, video conferencing. Make sure you understand the roles of each of the communication tools. And, as much as people have grown tired of video conferencing, it can really be a way to help you stay focused on the meeting and the task at hand, rather than become distracted with other work.
- Use the right tools: You’ll want to make sure you have the right tools and software to do your job effectively. Your place of work may be providing you with software and equipment, but know that you may find that their keyboard or mouse (for example) aren’t the best for what you need and then consider getting something that works best for you. Make sure to check with your HR department to see if any of your expenses can be covered by your employer, like internet, phone, or even computer.
- Be kind to yourself: Breaks are extremely important to take, especially if you’re sitting at a desk and/or looking at a computer. Take breaks when you need to, and make sure to prioritize your physical and mental health. That also means setting boundaries between your work and personal time, and embracing the perks of remote work, like tossing a load of laundry in or taking a walk around the block a few times whenever you need to stretch. It’s also important to not overcompensate; at first, you may be worried that you’re not doing enough because no one is physically there to check in.
Overall, the transition from working in a physical office environment to remote work (or hybrid work) can be smooth if you’re prepared. These tips can help you adjust to the challenges (and joys) of working remotely, and ensure that you’re feeling productive, successful, and connected.